My parents were always fond of the saying, “He would bitch if he were hung with a new rope.”

I have no idea what that means. I know how they used the phrase, as a negative comment about people who complain about anything, everything, even positive stuff, but it just seems counterintuitive.

Maybe literally, you could say that the person was mindlessly complaining about the wrong point, but it would take an incredibly positive person to stand up on the gallows and say, “Bummer that I’m getting my neck stretched until I’m dead from a severed spinal cord or slow strangulation, but, hey, at least I got this here pretty new white rope.” That’s beyond “the glass is half full” perkiness. It’s beyond Pollyanna, even. It’s clinically disturbed.

Unless of course it’s a new hemp rope, which is awfully bristly, so it kind of makes sense to complain, but still, on the day it might seem a little trivial to be complaining of a momentary discomfort in, y’know, the face of death and all.

That said, I always figured, hey, I’d be bitching about everything if I were getting hung. The rope’s too new, the sky’s too blue, my executioner’s breath stinks, my last meal tasted perfect — what the hell’s that all about, please kill the chef for torturing prisoners.

In the end, even though I think the saying is pointless or ridiculous or incomprehensible, I still catch myself using it on occasion. Like the other day when I read about this ungrateful robber guy.

A masked robber walked up to the drive-through window at a Wendy’s in Atlanta, Ga., and demanded the cash drawer at gunpoint, then ran off with the cash. But that wasn’t good enough for him. He was so mad that his take was only $586 that he called the fast-food joint to complain … twice.

I’m thinking, dude, you got away clean — with the money — shut your pie hole and buy some healthy food or some crack or something, cuz it’s more money than you had that morning and you only had to work for five minutes. That’s, like, $7,032 an hour, and you get to work for yourself.

Call me glass half manic, but …

I’m rethinking my career path already at: pam(at)